China is set to claim a frequency that the European Commission wants to use for a security-oriented portion of the Galileo navigation satellite project.
Talks between European and Chinese officials have failed to resolve the dispute, adding another obstacle to Europe’s hopes of challenging the GPS network’s global monopoly, just as China and Russia are moving ahead with competing programs of their own. As Gallileo is being delayed, the Chinese are moving forward with their own system which goes under the name Beidou (named after the Big Dipper constellation).
The problem? China plans to transmit signals on the wavelength that the European Union wants to use for Galileo’s Public Regulated Service. Following ITU policies the first country to start using a specific frequency is granted priority status, meaning that Europe would be unable to use the wavelength unless it received China’s permission.
The real problem? The Galileo consortium had hoped to recoup part of its USD 2.5 billion investment in Galileo by selling receivers and commercial signal subscriptions in China. Now that Beidou is set to offer a free non-military service inside China the European business model will need some rework.